In this day and age, second marriages are not at all uncommon. Individuals entering into a second marriage are often doing so a little bit older and (hopefully) a little bit wiser. Furthermore, each person oftentimes is entering into a second marriages with their own property and assets. Second marriages frequently create blended families – each spouse may have children from previous relationships and may even have children together. Most people want to provide for his or her spouse through estate planning, while ultimately ensuring the estate will go to his or her children.
In blended family situations, providing for everyone you care about can be complicated. It is important to have an estate plan that fits the specific needs and situation. Without an estate plan, there is no way to ensure that what you want to happen will actually happen. Furthermore, leaving it to your spouse and children to “work it out” is not a plan – particularly not when it comes to blended families.
Stepparents and stepchildren often embrace each other as family and have wonderful relationships – it can be hard to imagine that they would not continue to care for each other after a spouse’s death. However, people react differently to situations of stress and high emotion – such as during a divorce or following the death of a loved one – and the reactions cannot often be anticipated. Despite strong bonds between stepparents and stepchildren, these bonds could erode over time. The saying “blood is thicker than water” is not without firm foundation.
Let’s take an example:
Harry and Sally are recently married. Harry has been married before and has 2 adult daughters from that marriage. Sally has never been married, and has 1 adult son from a previous relationship. At the time they are married, Sally owns a home and Harry moves in with her. After only two short years of marriage, Sally dies unexpectedly in a bus accident. They had talked about meeting with an estate planning attorney but never got around to it. As Sally’s spouse, Harry stands to inherit a bulk of her estate leaving her son with little to no inheritance. As the years pass, Harry remarries again and loses touch with Sally’s son. When he does finally go in to do his estate planning (for an estate that now includes much of Sally’s wealth) he leaves his entire estate to his daughters.
This bleak scenario is not uncommon. The good news is – it is easily avoidable through estate planning.
Schromen Law, LLC works with blended families to establish an estate plan that meets their unique situation, needs and concerns. I assist clients in having the sometimes difficult, but necessary, conversations that come with estate planning for blended families. By working with Schromen Law to establish an estate plan, couples in blended families are able to provide for each other and ensure their respective children are also provided for and protected.
The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Schromen Law, LLC and the reader. The information contained herein is not offered as legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.